The shell in the middle of the picture above gives us a clue to the mortuary (burial) customs of the mid-19th century people who lived in McCortney Hollow. The grave was covered with shells from the nearby Big Piney River, along with broken pottery that was saved for such occasions. This is called the upland southern tradition, the heritage of many who settled in McCortney Hollow. We have bits of shell on several graves and a few pieces of broken dishes. This predates putting flowers on graves.